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A thorough survey of the field of learning.

Learning & Behavior covers topics such as classical and operant conditioning, reinforcement schedules, avoidance and punishment, stimulus control, comparative cognition, observational learning, motor skill learning, and choice.

The book includes thorough coverage of classic studies and the most recent developments and trends, while providing examples of real-world applications of the principles discovered in laboratory research. It also emphasizes the behavioral approach but not exclusively so; many cognitive theories are covered as well, and there is a chapter on comparative cognition.

Learning Goals

Upon completing this book readers will be able to:

  • Understand the field of learning
  • Discuss real-world applications of learning principles

Note: MySearchLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MySearchLab, please visit: www.mysearchlab.com or you can purchase a ValuePack of the text + MySearchLab (at no additional cost): ValuePack ISBN-10: 0205864813 / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205864812.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205864812
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 7/29/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 770,133
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James E. Mazur obtained his B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College in 1973, and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University in 1977. He taught at Harvard University as an assistant professor and associate professor from 1980 to 1988, and since then he has taught at Southern Connecticut State University, where he is a CSU Professor of Psychology. He has conducted research on operant conditioning and choice for over 35 years. He has published over 60 journal articles and chapters on such topics as reinforcement schedules, conditioned reinforcement, self-control, risk-taking, procrastination, and mathematical models of choice.

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Table of Contents

Found in this Section:

1. Brief Table of Contents

2. Full Table of Contents



Chapter 1 History, Background, and Basic Concepts

Chapter 2 Innate Behavior Patterns and Habituation

Chapter 3 Basic Principles of Classical Conditioning

Chapter 4 Theories and Research on Classical Conditioning

Chapter 5 Basic Principles of Operant Conditioning

Chapter 6 Reinforcement Schedules: Experimental Analyses and Applications

Chapter 7 Avoidance and Punishment

Chapter 8 Theories and Research on Operant Conditioning

Chapter 9 Stimulus Control and Concept Learning

Chapter 10 Comparative Cognition

Chapter 11 Learning by Observation

Chapter 12 Learning Motor Skills

Chapter 13 Choice




Author Index

Subject Index



Chapter 1: History, Background, and Basic Concepts

The Search for General Principles of Learning

The Associationists


The British Associationists: Simple and Complex Ideas

Ebbinghaus’s Experiments on Memory

The Effects of Repetition

The Effects of Time

The Role of Contiguity

The Influence of the Associationists and Ebbinghaus

Behavioral and Cognitive Approaches to Learning

The Use of Animal Subjects

The Emphasis on External Events

The Physiological Approach: Brain and Behavior

The Basic Characteristics of Neurons

Physiological Research on Simple Sensations

Physiological Research on Feature Detectors

Physiological Research on Learning


Review Questions

Chapter 2: Innate Behavior Patterns and Habituation

Characteristics of Goal-Directed Systems


Tropisms and Orientation



Sequences of Behavior

Fixed Action Patterns

Reaction Chains

Innate Human Abilities and Predispositions


General Principles of Habituation

Physiological Mechanisms of Habituation

Habituation in Emotional Responses: The Opponent-Process Theory


Review Questions

Chapter 3: Basic Principles of Classical Conditioning

Pavlov’s Discovery and Its Impact

The Standard Paradigm of Classical Conditioning

The Variety of Conditioned Responses

Pavlov’s Stimulus Substitution Theory

S-S or S-R Connections?

Basic Conditioning Phenomena



Spontaneous Recovery, Disinhibition, and Rapid Reacquisition

Conditioned Inhibition

Generalization and Discrimination

The Importance of Timing in Classical Conditioning

CS-US Correlations

Higher Order Conditioning

Classical Conditioning Outside the Laboratory

Classical Conditioning and Emotional Responses

Classical Conditioning and the Immune System

Applications in Behavior Therapy


Review Questions

Chapter 4: Theories and Research on Classical Conditioning

Theories of Associative Learning

The Blocking Effect

The Rescorla-Wagner Model

Other Theories


Types of Associations

Associations in First-Order Conditioning

Associations in Second-Order Conditioning

Associations with Contextual Stimuli

CS-CS Associations

Occasion Setting


Biological Constraints on Classical Conditioning

The Contiguity Principle and Taste-Aversion Learning

Biological Preparedness in Taste-Aversion Learning

Biological Preparedness in Human Learning

Biological Constraints and the General-Principle Approach

The Form of the Conditioned Response

Drug Tolerance and Drug Cravings as Conditioned Responses

Conditioned Opponent Theories

Physiological Research on Classical Conditioning


Review Questions

Chapter 5: Basic Principles of Operant Conditioning

The Law of Effect

Thorndike’s Experiments

Guthrie and Horton: Evidence for a Mechanical Strengthening Process

Superstitious Behaviors

The Procedure of Shaping, or Successive Approximations

Shaping Lever Pressing in a Rat

Shaping Behaviors in the Classroom

Shaping as a Tool in Behavior Modification

Making Shaping More Precise: Percentile Schedules

Versatility of the Shaping Process

The Research of B. F. Skinner

The Free Operant

The Three-Term Contingency

Basic Principles of Operant Conditioning


Conditioned Reinforcement

Response Chains

Biological Constraints on Operant Conditioning

Instinctive Drift


Reconciling Reinforcement Theory and Biological Constraints


Review Questions

Chapter 6: Reinforcement Schedules: Experimental Analyses and Applications

Plotting Moment-to-Moment Behavior: The Cumulative Recorder

The Four Simple Reinforcement Schedules

Fixed Ratio

Variable Ratio

Fixed Interval

Variable Interval

Extinction and the Four Simple Schedules

Other Reinforcement Schedules

Factors Affecting Performance on Reinforcement Schedules

Behavioral Momentum

Contingency-Shaped versus Rule-Governed Behaviors

Reinforcement History


The Experimental Analysis of Reinforcement Schedules

Cause of the FR Postreinforcement Pause

Comparisons of VR and VI Response Rates

Applications of Operant Conditioning

Teaching Language to Children with Autism

Token Reinforcement

Organizational Behavior Management

Behavior Therapy for Marital Problems



Review Questions

Chapter 7: Avoidance and Punishment


A Representative Experiment

Two-Factor Theory

Evidence Supporting Two-Factor Theory

Problems with Two-Factor Theory

One-Factor Theory

Cognitive Theory

Biological Constraints in Avoidance Learning

Conclusions about the Theories of Avoidance

Flooding as Behavior Therapy

Learned Helplessness


Is Punishment the Opposite of Reinforcement?

Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Punishment

Disadvantages of Using Punishment

Negative Punishment

Behavior Decelerators in Behavior Therapy

Positive Punishment

Negative Punishment: Response Cost and Time-Out

Other Techniques for Behavior Deceleration


Review Questions

Chapter 8: Theories and Research on Operant Conditioning

The Role of the Response

The Role of the Reinforcer

Is Reinforcement Necessary for Operant Conditioning?

Expectations about the Reinforcer

Can Reinforcement Control Visceral Responses?


How Can We Predict What Will Be a Reinforcer?

Need Reduction

Drive Reduction


Premack’s Principle

Response Deprivation Theory

The Functional Analysis of Behaviors and Reinforcers

Behavioral Economics

Optimization: Theory and Research

Elasticity and Inelasticity of Demand

Behavioral Economics and Drug Abuse

Other Applications


Review Questions

Chapter 9: Stimulus Control and Concept Learning

Generalization Gradients

Measuring Generalization Gradients

What Causes Generalization Gradients?

Is Stimulus Control Absolute or Relational?

Transposition and Peak Shift

Spence’s Theory of Excitatory and Inhibitory Gradients

The Intermediate-Size Problem

Other Data, and Some Conclusions

Behavioral Contrast

"Errorless" Discrimination Learning

Transfer of Learning and Learning Sets

Concept Learning

The Structure of Natural Categories

Animal Studies on Natural Concept Learning

Developing Stimulus Equivalence

Stimulus Control in Behavior Modification

Stimulus Equivalence Training

Study Habits and Health Habits



Review Questions

Chapter 10: Comparative Cognition

Memory and Rehearsal

Short-Term Memory, or Working Memory


Long-Term Memory, Retrieval, and Forgetting

Time, Number, and Serial Patterns

Experiments on an "Internal Clock"


Serial Pattern Learning


Language and Reasoning

Teaching Language to Animals

Reasoning by Animals


Review Questions

Chapter 11: Learning by Observation

Theories of Imitation

Imitation as an Instinct

Imitation as an Operant Response

Imitation as a Generalized Operant Response

Bandura’s Theory of Imitation

Which Theory of Imitation Is Best?

Mirror Neurons and Imitation

Interactions Between Observational Learning and Operant Conditioning

Achievement Motivation


Effects of the Mass Media

Television Violence and Aggressive Behavior

Video Games and Popular Music

What Can Be Learned Through Observation?


Drug Use and Addictions

Cognitive Development

Moral Standards and Behavior

Modeling in Behavior Therapy

Facilitation of Low-Probability Behaviors

Acquisition of New Behaviors

Elimination of Fears and Unwanted Behaviors

Video Self-Modeling

Conclusions: The Sophisticated Skill of Learning by Observation


Review Questions

Chapter 12: Learning Motor Skills

The Variety of Motor Skills

Variables Affecting Motor Learning and Performance

Reinforcement and Knowledge of Results

Knowledge of Performance

Distribution of Practice

Observational Learning of Motor Skills

Transfer from Previous Training

Ironic Errors in Movement

Theories of Motor-Skill Learning

Adams ’s Two-Stage Theory

Schmidt’s Schema Theory

What is the Best Way to Practice?

Learning Movement Sequences

The Response Chain Approach

Motor Programs

Dynamic Pattern Theory


Review Questions

Chapter 13: Choice

The Matching Law

Herrnstein’s Experiment

Other Experiments on Matching

Deviations from Matching

Varying the Quality and Amount of Reinforcement

An Application to Single Schedules

Theories of Choice Behavior

Matching Theory and Melioration Theory

Optimization Theory

Momentary Maximization Theory

Other Theories of Choice

Self-Control Choices

Delay Discounting

The Ainslie-Rachlin Theory

Animal Studies on Self-Control

Factors Affecting Self-Control in Children

Techniques for Improving Self-Control

Other Choice Situations

Risk Taking

The Tragedy of the Commons


Review Questions




Author Index

Subject Index

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